Exploring is part of the Dauntless experience! Our day hike in the hills of St. Thomas provided a multitude of unexpected pleasures.
From our anchorage in Charlotte Amalie harbor, we took a cab into the mountains to an unmarked driveway, which serves as the trailhead. Turns out the taxi driver was off by one driveway (luckily the homeowner quickly set us on the straight and narrow path!) We weren’t sure of the condition of the Discovery Nature Trail at MagensBay, post-hurricanes. It was perfect- all plant debris, and there was lots of it, had been cleared off the entire 1.5 mile trail- very impressive for a tropical forest. This trail sits within an area of 319 acres which was donated by Arthur S Fairchild in 1947 to the people of the Virgin Islands. Opened to the public in 2004, the trail and park is managed jointly by the Nature Conservancy, the Virgin Islands Government and Magens Bay Authority.
The multiple ecosystems in this park certainly made this an interesting hike. The walk down the hill brought us through a mixed dry forest, continuing into a moist tropical forest. At the bottom of the hill, we walked on a narrow boardwalk that crossed the mangroves. Quite a bit of the plant varieties were familiar to me from Virginia (some being house plants or annuals, while others were varietals of many native VA species.) For example, there was Yucca, Mondo Grass, Viburnum, Privet, and possibly Crape Myrtle. The best part of the hike was when the boardwalk landed us at the LOVELY beach at Magens Bay. Long for an island beach, it runs a beautiful crescent shape of about 1.5 miles and sits deep within the Bay.
The beach and water is absolutely beautiful here. After our hike, I was so hot and sweaty that I just walked right in the ocean, clothes and all (this isn’t a nudist beach and we didn’t plan ahead with our beachwear.) Next to the concession stand (where we ate yummy giros) and the adjacent bar (where we refreshed with Carib beer, from Trinidad,) there was a boutique where I bought a cute little flower dress to wear home! I gladly traded my wet cotton t-shirt and shorts for this gem.
Having enjoyed this park so much, the next day, we decided to Sail Dauntless and anchor in Magens Bay. It was a beautifully calm anchorage, almost like we were on a lake. In the morning, I donned a Ninja Snorkel Mask and swam to the quiet beach before the cruise ship day-trippers arrived. I saw a turtle, a couple of tropical fish and thousands of tiny silver fish. This place quickly became one of our favorite places. What a sweet way to celebrate our 6 month anniversary as live-a-boards on Dauntless!
(check out the Dauntless anchored in the bay!)